Learn from these retirement savings mistakes

August 24, 2023

While it’s never great to make a mistake, they have the interesting side effect of teaching you what not to do.

Save with SPP decided to hunt around for some tips on what not to do when it comes to saving for retirement.

According to the Espresso blog on MSN, there are a couple of retirement plans that can backfire on you.

Many who haven’t saved much for retirement plan to continue working past age 65. But, the article warns, your body may have other ideas. A StatsCan finding from 2002 was that 30 per cent of those who took early retirement did so “because of their health.”

If you are saving via an investment product that charges high fees, you may find those charges “can eat up huge amounts of your savings over time,” the article reports. Be careful and look for lower-fee options, the article advises.

A key tip is to get saving, even if you start late. “According to BNN Bloomberg, 32 per cent of Canadians approaching retirement don’t have any savings,” the article notes. “Anyone hoping to rely only on the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security will find it difficult to maintain a comfortable lifestyle in retirement, which is why middle-aged and older Canadians should start saving as early as possible,” the article concludes.

The Motley Fool blog offers up a few more ideas.

Be aware of your registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) limits, the blog warns — there can be penalties if you over-contribute.

If you are running your own money and wanting to think outside the box, don’t use your RRSP as the test bed, The Motley Fool warns. “You should test out your investment strategies in a non-registered account before investing in RRSPs. Apply your successful investment strategies in RRSPs because losses cannot be written off,” the blog suggests.

Other advice includes diversification — don’t go fixed-income only in an RRSP, because you’ll get more growth from equities, the blog advises.

Over on LinkedIn, Brent Misener, a certified financial planner, provides a few more ideas.

Don’t procrastinate on retirement saving, he notes. “The power of compounding is a significant advantage when it comes to saving and investing. Starting early allows your money to grow and work for you over an extended period. Take action now and harness the power of time to maximize your retirement nest egg,” he writes.

Have a handle on what your expenses will be after you retire, Misener writes. “Medical costs, housing, leisure activities, and unforeseen events can quickly deplete your savings if not accounted for,” he warns.

In a similar vein, he says you must not ignore the possible impacts of inflation. “Consider inflation as you plan for the future and ensure that your investments and savings can keep pace with rising prices. Consider how much everyday items like groceries and utilities have increased dramatically in the last two years,” he adds.

If you are among the fortunate few who have a workplace pension plan, don’t stop saving outside that plan, Misener states. “Whether it’s a defined benefit or defined contribution, it’s important to remember that your pension may not cover all of your spending needs. Most retirees plan on spending more in retirement and often work pensions may only cover basic expenses,” he concludes.

These are all good tips to be aware of.

If you don’t have a workplace pension plan, or you want to supplement the savings you are getting from one, have a look at the Saskatchewan Pension Plan. SPP is an open, voluntary defined contribution plan that will invest your money at a very low fee. Your savings will grow within SPP’s pooled investment fund, and when it’s time to retire, you have the option of a lifetime monthly annuity payment, so that you will never run out of money. Check out SPP today!

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Written by Martin Biefer

Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.

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